At some point during your career, the time will come when you are required to step up and become a leader. You may find yourself managing a team of people, running your own business, or even just trying to inspire a colleague. While it may seem like some people are natural leaders, there are many leadership skills you can develop even if you feel like leadership does not come naturally to you. Read on so you can learn how to be a leader.
What Does it Take to Be a Leader?
Before you can become a successful leader, there are a number of qualities that you will need to develop within yourself.
1. Becoming an Expert
By performing exceptionally well in your current role, you can get noticed as someone who is willing to grow within your organization. This will provide a path to a position of influence.
2. Keep Learning
The only way that you will be able to become an effective leader is by learning and adopting good leadership traits. This will require constantly working on your leadership skills, as well as becoming better at your job role.
3. Empower Teammates
Rather than being critical, be a mentor to others when they lack certain knowledge or skills. Provide them the guidance they need to succeed. Support them in their pursuit of improvement and show them that you have confidence in their abilities.
4. Take Risks
Sometimes tough choices have to be made for the good of the entire organization. When making such choices, remember to remain accountable for your actions and make sure that team members are held accountable as well. Do not let the fear of criticism prevent progress.
5. Be a Team Player
To truly understand your team, you need to be able to work side-by-side with team members in the trenches. This will help develop a bond between you and your team.
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6. Listen to Criticism
While hearing criticism is never pleasant, understanding the error of your ways will allow you to grow as a leader. This way, you will be less likely to repeat past mistakes. Also make sure to ask your superior for honest feedback so that you can continue to improve in your own job role.
7. Care for Team Members
Not only will compassion earn you admiration from team members, but listening to and addressing their needs will increase their job satisfaction. A caring leader can bridge the gap between the needs of workers and their organization.
Displaying confidence in your team members’ abilities will help them to believe in themselves. By placing your trust in them to get the job done, they will start trusting you in return.
9. Recognize Talent
By identifying your team members’ unique strengths, you can place them in suitable roles that will help them exceed. You can also help them to become well-rounded individuals by helping overcome their weaknesses.
Once your subordinates know how to perform their job functions, provide them with the freedom to complete tasks using whatever method they deem fit. There is no need to get in the way of someone who knows how to get the job done.
11. Do Not Micromanage
By micromanaging, you are not providing subordinates with the independence that they need in order to excel in their roles on their own. By stepping back and giving them the freedom to develop on their own, you are placing your faith in your team.
12. Get Leader-like Skills
Once you start developing as a leader, there are several good practices that you should adopt in order to enhance your skill set.
13. Leverage Your Team
You cannot do all of the work on your own. Sometimes you will need to rely on team members to carry out tasks on your behalf. This means placing your faith in them and providing them with the authority to act in your capacity when you are unavailable to do so.
14. Communicate Effectively
Learn to express to subordinates exactly what work needs to be done and why. Ensure that you provide them an understanding of the goal that you are trying to achieve. Make sure that they understand the potential challenges that face them, and provide them with recommendations on how to overcome them.
15. Manage Your Emotions
Your emotions often dictate the energy inside the office. If you keep your emotions in check and inspire an air of confidence, then you will provide your team members with a positive work environment.
16. Take Responsibility
It takes a strong character to admit when they are wrong. By doing so, you are showing your team members the correct way to behave, and earning their admiration in the process.
By providing team members with the authority to complete important tasks on their own, you are showing them that you trust in their abilities. This not only boosts their self confidence but develops their trust in you.
18. Keep Promises
While this can be challenging, keeping promises shows your integrity and trustworthiness. Breaking a promise can quickly damage your credibility among your team members.
19. Commit to Growth
Rather than just committing to your own personal growth, take an interest in other team members’ growth as well. As team members grow in their abilities, so too will service levels and operational efficiency improve.
20. Be Curious
If you are curious about the unknown, you are opening yourself up to acquiring new knowledge and understanding new challenges that you or your team members may be faced with. Remember, no matter how great a leader you are, you can never be an expert on everything. It’s ok not to know something!
21. Conflict Resolution
Make sure that you become aware of conflicts that arise between team members. Because conflicts can hamper productivity, it is important to resolve them as soon as possible. If they cannot be solved, then be sure to reassign the team members involved to new roles so that further damage is averted.
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How to Become a Better Leader
Even once you are a good leader, there is always room for further growth. Here are a few things you can try to keep on improving your leadership skills.
1. Define Your Leadership Style
One great way that you can do this is by taking the following leadership style quiz. This will allow you to learn the name of your leadership style, the characteristics of this style, and the potential strengths and weaknesses associated with this style. Having this information will allow you to understand what your weaknesses are so that you can start working on improving them.
2. Be a Role Model
As a leader, you can influence the behavior of your team. Doing the following will allow you to encourage each team member to give their all:
- Stimulate creativity: Provide subordinates with the freedom and support to formulate their own methods for overcoming challenges. This will allow them to push their limits.
- Passion will serve you: By caring about the goals of the team, you influence others to do the same. Enthusiastic leaders inspire enthusiasm within subordinates.
- Stay positive and motivated: This will allow you to project positive energy towards subordinates and allow them to also get excited about projects.
- Encourage contribution: By allowing team members to express their ideas, you give them the confidence to contribute to the project at hand.
Ask Yourself: Why Do You Want To Be A Leader?
Knowing why you wanted to be a leader can determine if a leadership role is right for you. There are both good and bad reasons for wanting to become a leader.
- People: Wanting to make meaningful connections and help others reach their potentials.
- Goals: Having a dream which requires the help of others to achieve.
- Responsibility: You have a company or a managerial position that requires the use of leadership skills in order to succeed.
- Business Management Career: To be an inspiring manager, you need to be an effective leader.
- Money: The stress associated with leadership will limit the enjoyment of your wealth.
- Power: Difficult decisions such as hiring and firing mean power isn’t as appealing as it sounds.
- Perks: Leadership responsibilities will cut into your availability to enjoy perks such as the nicer hotel room during a business trip, as you’ll be the one on-call to help other employees in need of guidance.
By considering the above guidelines and tips, you can pave your way to becoming a great leader, whether in the classroom or the boardroom.
If you are excited to become a great leader in business but need more training, consider taking one of the University of the People’s tuition-free Business Administration degrees, as these programs cover disciplines such as leadership. We will set you up to become a highly qualified business leader, no matter where you are in the world and no matter how little your education budget is, as our programs are 100% online and tuition-free. Learn more today!